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'Untitled (Cadmium)' by Jean-Michel Basquiat

The 1980s

The 1980s were critical in the development of new artistic strategies such as appropriation, multiculturalism, and graffiti. New York City provided the hub for a diverse group of artists who emerged at that time against a backdrop of political activism, institutional critique, and economic expansion. Led by Jean-Michel Basquiat, new figuration (or Neo-Expressionism) emerged as a dominant style in painting. Meanwhile, artists such as Keith Haring and Adrian Piper bridged gaps between art, identity, and popular culture. Basquiat’s painting Untitled (Cadmium) is a quintessential Neo-Expressionist work of the 1980s made at the apex of his short but brilliant career.